One Democratic candidate for governor is less than impressed with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's positive tone in this week’s State of the State address and thinks it’s a sign Illinois is ready for a change in power.
State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston said on GLT’s Sound Ideas that Rauner is acting as though the two-year budget impasse didn’t happen and both students and jobs aren’t leaving Illinois at an alarming rate.
“He acted as though everything was fine,” Biss said. “What we need is a reset. What we need is a state government that actually works and a state government that works for ordinary people in Illinois who have been left behind for way too long.”
Biss says the tax system and the economy are largely to blame for this exodus of Illinois residents.
“We’ve got a tax system that was designed for an economy we don’t have anymore, and so what it’s working for right now is the very wealthy,” Biss said. “Illinois is a rough place to be a middle-class homeowner like me. It’s an easy place to be a billionaire.”
Biss is, by some polls, in second place, with Democratic opponent and billionaire JB Pritzker in first, although 38 percent of voters are still uncommitted and the primaries are more than a month away.
Biss, however, says he thinks people are ready for a change.
“The people are coming to our campaign across the state of Illinois, and I think it makes sense why. The voters of Illinois are being confronted with a choice between a billionaire and a middle-class progressive, and I think that choice is pretty easy for most people,” Biss said.
Pritzker, meanwhile, visited Bloomington on Friday to deliver a fiery stump speech at a packed union hall. He was joined by Democratic State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, who has endorsed him in the primary.
Biss is a lawmaker in Springfield and has been trying to combat the inaction typically seen during election years. Among changes he proposes as part of his campaign are a switch to a progressive income tax, legalizing recreational marijuana and properly funding pensions.
“There’s one pension system in the state of Illinois called the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. That pension system’s in good shape because every year, the employers make the required payment,” Biss said. “We have to institutionalize that. Make the payment now on the front end so we can provide the promised benefits and make the bold changes needed to our tax system so we can actually afford the kinds of public services that the people of Illinois need.”
Biss stopped in the Twin Cities on Thursday to pick up the endorsement of the ISU College Democrats, a constituency he says is important not only to the future of the Democratic party, but also to this year’s election.
You can also listen to the full interview here:
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